Weeks after Pehlu Khan’s alleged lynching in Alwar, CPI(ML) worker Zafar Khan had expressed concerns over the worsening law and order in Rajasthan in a meeting in Jaipur called by the CPI(ML) on Pehlu Khan’s lynching. The CPI(ML) worker died following an alleged assault by municipal workers in Pratapgarh on June 16.
Zafar had tried to prevent Pratapgarh Nagar Parishad officials, including Commissioner Ashok Jain, from allegedly taking photographs of women defecating in the open and chasing them away. Jain and at least three other government officials had allegedly assaulted Khan and were named in an FIR lodged by his brother Nur Mohammad.
“We had called a two day meet on April 21-22 in Jaipur of party workers. It was three weeks after Pehlu Khan’s assault —and subsequent death —by gau rakshaks in Alwar. Zafar had participated on June 21 and expressed his concern at the declining safety for the minorities in Rajasthan,” said Mahendra Chaudhary, state secretary of CPI(ML).
Chaudhary, who co-signed perhaps what was Zafar’s last letter, said the worker had been in touch in the days preceding his death. “He had been telling me about the daily harassment by Nagar Parishad officials and I had been telling him not to go alone,” Chaudhary said.
“The locals had tried to meet District Collector on June 14 over the issue but she didn’t have time. On June 15, they say they had tried to meet the Nagar Parishad officials but their letter was torn by Chairman Kamlesh Doshi,” said CPI (ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya.
He said though the cleanliness issue is of development, it has a “built in violence and humiliation”. He said the act of capturing photographs also infringes upon rights of a person and that capturing photographs of women while defecating would be an offence under IPC 354 (c) (voyeurism).